Sunday, February 16, 2014

A Valentines Day Bake-Off!

I hope you guys had a sweet Valentines Day!  We sure did.  In fact, my stomach hurt a little the next morning from just how sweet it was.

My parents were here for a couple days, passing through on their way to Florida. We had planned to go out on a date Tuesday night while they were here so they could watch the boys.  A pre-valentine dinner if you will.

Enter winter ice storm.

With all the news coverage stating no one should drive the next day, everyone in Atlanta had flashbacks to a few weeks before and I had to spend 30 minutes in line at Kroger for wipes and coffee.  Come on Atlanta!  I would've left but we were down to the last few wipes and ...hello? coffee!

My parents feared they would be stuck in another southern "winter storm" debacle so they packed up in less than an hour and got out of dodge!!  I can't really blame them. Later that evening they were in 64° weather while all of Atlanta was stuck inside for the next three days.

When the ice finally melted we ventured out to Whole Foods.  (Yes that is an outing for us!)   Usually this includes a stop at TJMaxx next door, but they were still closed along with a lot of other businesses.
Since we were going to be spending V-day at home, we had to do something different.  I had an idea to surprise each other with a homemade dessert.  I think this was my way to get Ernesto excited.  He is not big on the "Hallmark Holiday" but he loves a good competition.  And me, well,  I love any opportunity for surprises.

While Mateo was at school Friday making me this beautiful Valentine...

Neto, Marcelo and I went shopping for the secret ingredients! 

We didn't share what we were baking (obvs) but we noticed we both were buying chocolate. Hmmm
Me: What are you baking yours in? 
Him: little bowls
Me:  Ramekins? 
Him: Yes.  You?
Me:  Ramekins.
Him:  Mine is going to be better!
Me:  We will see about that!

I would never enter a cook-off with Ernesto, but a bake-off seemed like it could be fair.  I just hoped we weren't making the same thing! 

While Ernesto put Mateo to bed, I had Marcelo in the Ergo and got to mixing my special dessert. I left the 4 ramekins covered and ready to be baked while we ate our dinner.

I grabbed these cute place mats from Target earlier that day and they really set the mood.  Ok the flowers, candles and wine also helped.  It was really exciting guys!  (You can tell I don't get out much!)  
Dinner included steaks (mine-filet and his-ribeye) and whole foods actually had a v-day special where you get a lobster tail with each steak! Yes!  This kind-of made up for the restaurant prices we paid for the meat. Organic and grass fed costs, but DAMN it was delicious...even for this steak snob. **
(**every steak I eat is compared to eating in Argentina.  Oh Delta I miss you!  The price has never been beat, but this steak did come close!) 
I roasted broccoli and asparagus as a side dish.  It was crispy and delicious. 
I cleaned this plate up which left no room for dessert. 
 We pressed on though.  Full stomachs be damned!

I found the recipe for my Chocolate Molten Cakes on a blog called Delicious Shots.  Nawja is a chef and a photographer, so I only had to see one picture of this cake oozing chocolate to know it was my ticket to victory!  This is a repeater!  Easy, beautiful and sinfully delicious.  Just wrong.
Note to self:  Self, you do not need to finish such a decadent dessert all in one sitting.  And you definitely do not need to lick the plate...especially with another decadent dessert being served after.

Ernesto's dessert admittedly was more labor intensive.  He made a Molten Soufle from the site Chef Steps.  It was beautiful.
His recipe came with video instructions.  (great little video and website!)
Only thing - it was made by someone in Europe or Canada (or another country using the metric system)  so he had to convert all ingredient measurements.

We have watched Chopped enough to know how to critique food.
 Judging came down to three things:  Taste, presentation and creativity.

Here are the objective results of the competition!

We tied on creativity since our desserts were somewhat similar.
Ernesto won for presentation......but I WON for TASTE!
(I think Ernesto would want me to explain that the conversion of salt from grams to teaspoons may have lost him the competition.)

Here we are in a sweet induced stupor.
We.  Can't.  Eat.  Another.  Bite.
I think we may have started a long lasting tradition for Valentines Day.  It was exciting, fun and sweet as hell! A really special way to celebrate the one you love, right?  Plus just sitting down together for a proper meal really sparks conversation and reminds me of why I am so in love with this guy!

Something else we decided to continue with is that we buy just one card.  Ernesto read mine and said, "Can I just give this back to you?  It is exactly what I want to say to you [if I had bought you a card.]  Ha!  Ok Neto, as long as you hand write a few sweet words I like that idea.  (You buy it next year though mi amor!)

What did you guys do for Valentines Day?  Anything special?  Any new traditions started??

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